My feet know immediately,
run out of the house
into an open space.
When a dark cloud sneaks in
the room loses its brightness,
and me and my feet know, a great adventure is waiting for us outside.
I’ve been this way from before I can remember.
One of the best gifts my dad ever gave me.
When the darkness arrives in those early years,
We look at each other,
Race to the car,
I clamber onto the front seat,
My Dad’s key in the ignition
Ready to go when I am sitting upright,
And leaving behind all the maternal warnings,
We speed two full blocks,
skidding to a stop at the edge of the white sand.
The best view of a storm on the lake
Is at the edge of the water,
As close as we can get to the slowly moving,
Lightning flashing storm which covered the entire lake.
We both cannot get any more excited
Than witnessing a nearly black storm
Lumbering across Lake Erie from west to east.
Dispatching 30 mph wind
Directly at us, north-to-south,
As we stand on the shore
In t-shirts and shorts,
The winds always beat us,
Whipping up eight-foot white cap waves,
One giant wave after wave speeding
Their way toward shore,
Except for that subtle pause,
Like the baseball pitcher
Drawing up to his tallest, most threatening stance,
He leans away from the batter,
Interrupts his flow
To send his fast ball spinning
As he comes down toward the batter
In his most menacing face,
“I’ve got ya.”
Those winds windup their pitching arm,
Lean back like a pro
Size up the batter,
And then let loose a wild fast ball,
And in that daring height,
That slight backward leaning,
The waves come flying onto shore,
Pulling the sand back into the lake
Then delivering spinning sand and stones
Forward onto the worn-out beach.
That pause before the pitch
Puts the batter off balance
And sends the waves onto shore
Every time in a different cadence,
Walloping the shore
Shaking the ground with her basso thunderous tones.
On this shallowest of the Great Lakes,
A pip-squeak thirty feet deep far
beyond the horizon all the way around to Canada,
Swirly spirals fly onto the beach
As good as any respectable sandstorm
in the western deserts.
This is high adventure.
Carving out a west to east path over the water,
Turning and heading to the place we are standing
With hard hitting pellets of rain
“Get out of our way!”
We run back to the car,
Speed back to the house,
Run through the house to the back porch
Out that door into the open space of the back yard,
And stand and gaze up and the storm passes over us,
We stand near the only object immovable,
The only place anywhere near being
And yet are safe, immovable.
When the room indoors becomes dark,
High adventure is waiting to challenge us outside,
And we are more than up for the dare of the storm,
We run to see the black cloud that covers
Our Great Lake.
It passes us by.
We are so high
And a tad bit of disappointment.
Our adventure is over
Until the next time
The room goes dark.
This is how I was shown
Of the storms.
They come and they pass,
watch them, come out to see them, see how
they arrive and no matter the direction, they pass. ©2020 John Holliger